VMworld 2017 Day 1 – VMware Cloud Management Platform

My first session at VMworld 2017 was “What’s New and What’s Next for VMware Cloud Management Platform.”  There are a ton of great sessions and overlap at this conference, but I thought this would be a good one to attend (and blog on) as they touched on a lot of things VMware is doing outside of itself.

A big issue in the tech field today is that the world is moving “open.”  Open source, open APIs, commodity hardware, etc.  Customers are very wary of vendor lock-in that prevents them from either using new solutions or moving to other solutions later.

VMware has clearly recognized this, as a primary focus of late is cloud and product interoperability.  This is huge for a massive company like VMware who has TONS of proprietary stuff.

This session focused on all the ways that VMware is enabling customers to leverage other technologies in better ways.

Cloud Management Platforms (CMPs), whether public, private, or hybrid, are not just portals, they must accomplish a lot of goals: automation, operation, governance, control, health, costing, and others.  This is a layer on top of infrastructure management which can take many forms including VMware Cloud Foundation.  You can think of Cloud Foundation as forming the Software Defined Data Center (SDDC), while CMPs allow you to manage it.  Some specific goals for CMPs from VMware, aside from the ones listed above, are Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) and unified day 2 operations.

Here are a brief rundown of the CMP platforms VMware is currently working on.

VIO – VMware Integrated Openstack

Openstack is strategically important to VMware, and VIO is their solution to deploy and manage it.  VIO provides enhanced governance and control around Openstack which is lacking.

Key use cases for VIO are:

  • Enterprise Grade Automation – fully leverage the Openstack portfolio in an enterprise grade, simplified deployment
  • Developer Ready – consume virtualized and container infrastructure via code and APIs.
  • Carrier Grade Enablement – network provisioning and automation built on a rock solid platform

VIO is a standard deployment of Openstack, nothing proprietary.  If you are using tools against Openstack today, they should continue to work with VIO.

Some key capabilities of VIO:

  • Simplified installation
  • Advanced network via NSX
  • Operations Management through vRealize Operations
  • Enterprise Ready – stable and feature complete
  • Standards compliant – no proprietary stuff

Admiral Container Management

There is a divide currently between developers and operations when it comes to containers.  For developers, containers are easy to deploy, easy to use.  For operations, there is a lot of complexity and additional concerns.  They care about security, high availability, accounting, diagnostics, networking, storage, monitoring, backup, auditing, and lots of other things.

Admiral provides additional container management layers which help bridge this gap to provide the same ease of deployment and use for developers, but also additional tools for operations to keep things sane.  There is self service provisioning via vRealize Automation blueprints, including traditional, container, and hybrid (VM + container) deployments.  And it includes discovery and management for containers and hosts.

All of these things provide better visibility for operations when it comes to container environments.  Admiral is currently used for vSphere Integrated Containers (VIC) and vRA as well, though today these aren’t really integrated.  I believe looking forward this will continue to be a focus to integrate these products and environments so that there is more consistency between them.

vRealize Automation 7.3

If you have been using vRealize Automation you already know that they’ve been providing external integration via endpoints for a while now.  AWS, Azure, etc.

This has been and will continue to be a focus for the product.  More integration points intended to allow you to control and manage more of your non-VMware environment with vRA without having to roll your own code with vRO.  vRA integration with Azure, AWS, Openstack and others includes the ability to provision, configure networking, and in some cases day 2 operations as well.  vRealize Business provides costing models so you can measure what the cloud is costing you and what new deployments would cost depending on where you deployed them.

Aside from this, vRA 7.3 also has other improvements like dynamic workload placement with vRealize Operations, component profiles (t-shirt sizes for deployments), NSX lifecycle day 2 actions, and configuration management enhancement (puppet master as an endpoint).

VMware Cloud on AWS

VMware Cloud on AWS is intended to help solve the hybrid cloud problem of, “how do we run our apps in the cloud?”  Essentially this extends your private VMware cloud (and all the comfort that entails) into AWS for availability.  You can more easily configure, govern, and manage SDDC resources regardless of their location.  And vRA will support VMware Cloud on AWS as another provisioning endpoint.

Summary

Loved this quote that I’ve seen in several sessions so far today.

Clouds are the new silos.

Between the teams and skillsets required to manage them and the differing environments and toolsets, these are indeed the new pockets of people inside bigger organizations.

Organizations need consistent visibility and a operational model across clouds to decrease risk and reduce complexity.  VMware is attempting to bridge these gaps with a cohesive set of tools that you may already actually own, use, or at least be licensed for.

I’m excited to see what’s ahead for the rest of the 2017 VMworld days!

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